*Starred Review* Stomachs will ache at the thought of cabeza de vaca (cow’s head), beef clod (beef shoulder), or barbecue brisket (among other delicacies). Undeterred, architect and barbecue fanatic Vaughn, along with photographer Nicholas McWhirter and occasional sidekicks, did a hunting, gathering, and tasting journey throughout Texas to find the best barbecue. Out of the 186 places sampled, only 5 made his best list; the journey to him, though, is worth it. Beginning with the universal definition of barbecue as simply seasoned meat cooked to tenderness over hardwood smoke, the author not only delivers a running commentary on the goodness (or lack thereof) of the proteins, sides, and desserts, he also gives an almost-native’s perspective on the culture. Joints close when they run out of meat, often at 2 p.m., sometimes earlier. Fat counts: The value of well-smoked fat cannot be understated. So do desserts; there’s nothing better, Vaughn states, to counteract protein overload than a bit of something sweet. At the end, 20-ish pit masters are singled out for the specialties (mutton ribs, anyone?), providing quasi-recipes (details on meat, rub, wood, pit, fire, cooking time, it’s done when . . . suggestions, resting, and other pro tips) with the assumption that you’ll know how to interpret this shorthand. The first in a series of Anthony Bourdain–branded books. --Barbara Jacobs
From the Back Cover
The comprehensive, must-have guide to Texas barbecue, including pitmasters' recipes, tales of the road—from country meat markets to roadside stands—and a panoramic look at the Lone Star State, where smoked meat is sacred
Brisket. Spareribs. Beef sausage. Pulled pork. From the science of heat to the alchemy of rubs, from the hill country to the badlands, The Prophets of Smoked Meat takes readers on a pilgrimage to discover the heart and soul of Texas barbecue.
Join Daniel "BBQ Snob" Vaughn—host of the popular blog Full Custom Gospel BBQ and acknowledged barbecue expert—and photographer Nicholas McWhirter as they trek across more than 10,000 miles to sample the wood-smoking traditions of the Lone Star State's four distinct barbecue styles:
- East Texas style, essentially the hickory-smoked, sauce-coated barbecue with which most Americans are familiar.
- Central Texas "meat market" style, in which spice-rubbed meat is cooked over indirect heat from pecan or oak wood, a method that originated in the butcher shops of German and Czech immigrants.
- Hill Country "cowboy style," which involves direct heat cooking over mesquite coals and uses goat and mutton as well as beef and pork.
- South Texas barbacoa, in which whole beef heads are traditionally cooked in pits dug into the earth.
Including recipes from longtime pitmasters and new barbecue stars, The Prophets of Smoked Meat encompasses the entire panorama of Texas barbecue. Illustrated throughout with lush, full-color photographs of the food, the people, and the stunning landscapes of the Lone Star State, The Prophets of Smoked Meat is the new gospel of Texas barbecue, essential for neophytes and seasoned experts alike.